The Top Team
Omiya Ardija’s top team has steadily accumulated points so far, but the team is going through rough times now. They lost 1-3 to Ehime FC in Match 29, and the following match against Thespakusatsu Gunma ended in a 1-1 draw. Then they were defeated two matches in a row for the first time this season – 0-1 against Mito Hollyhock (Match 31) and 1-2 against Cerezo Osaka (Match 32). It was bad enough not to have a single victory in four matches, but the loss to Cerezo Osaka was especially devastating because Omiya was already defeated once by Cerezo in Match 2. The match against Cerezo took place in Kumagaya City where Omiya’s home game is played once a year. The key to winning the J2 League is a quick recovery for Omiya.
Meanwhile, the oldest cup tournament in Japan, the Emperor’s Cup, kicked off on August 29. In the first round, Omiya Ardija gained a clean 4-0 victory against Tochigi Uva FC, and beat Tokyo Verdy 3-1 in the second round. Omiya will go up against J1’s Vegalta Sendai in the third round.
Omiya Ardija’s youth team has been playing consistently well in their first Prince Takamado Trophy All Japan Youth (U-18) Premier Football League EAST. Scoring six straight victories from Match 8, they gained the top league position after Match 11. Their first defeat came at Match 14 against Shimizu S-Pulse. The next match against Aomori Yamada High School was a matchup of the two top teams, but Aomori Yamada came from behind and Omiya lost at the end. With two consecutive defeats, Omiya stands at third place with three matches to go.
The 2015 Kanto Youth (U-15) Soccer League 1st Division restarted on September 13, and the Omiya Ardija Jr. youth team played against JEF United Ichihara-Chiba in Match 17, securing a 5-0 win. The team’s momentum continued as they defeated Kawasaki Frontale 2-0 in Match 18 which took place on September 20. It was the first time for Omiya to gain three consecutive victories this season.
The Omiya Ardija Jr. youth team participated in the U-12 Junior Soccer World Challenge 2015 and advanced to the final round with a 2-win-1-loss record in the preliminary round. The team went up against Viet Nam in the quarterfinal and lost in the penalty shoot-out. They finished in fifth place.
The “2015 Ardija Soccer Festival” was held on August 22 and 23. Participating in this two-day event were the Omiya Ardija Soccer School select team as well as J Club and soccer school teams from the Kanto area. The winner on Day 1 was the Saitama City North FC, led by a coach dispatched from Omiya Ardija, and Kawasaki Frontale took first place on Day 2.
To encourage and support elementary and junior high school students to find a dream and work towards reaching their goal, Saitama Prefecture invites experts and professionals from various fields who have some kind of connection with Saitama to lecture at a “Learn and Experience Class” delivered at schools throughout the prefecture. As a professional organization in the field of sports, Omiya Ardija is contributing to this “dream delivery” project for youths. Soccer schools were organized on August 20 at the Ageo Junior High School in Ageo City, on August 26 at the Osato Higashi Elementary School in Saitama City, and on September 12 at the Katsuse Elementary School in Fujimi City where children experienced how much fun football truly is.
On August 28, our club mascot Ardy served as a “One-day Director” at the Haruno Library in Saitama City and had a great time with the children who came to the library. Ardy assisted the library staff to carry out a reading and discussion session, a workshop making soccer balls out of newspapers, and a janken (paper-stone-scissors) competition using the whole body instead of just fingers.
On September 9, club ambassador Taishi Tsukamoto visited Hanazono Elementary School in Fukaya City to carry out an “Omiya Ardija Class for the Future.” Tsukamoto talked about his own experience, and stressed the importance of having a dream and a goal and to be grateful for the opportunity to do what you truly love.
On September 11, a clean-up activity took place around the Nishi-Omiya Station, which is the closest railway terminal from Omiya Ardija’s clubhouse “Orange Cube.” A total of about 100 people turned up to help pick up empty cans, PET bottles and litter and sorted the various kinds of trash for garbage collection.